Commission grills Central Bank former governor

Thursday, September 21, 2017

(Issue, Wednesday 20 September 2017)

Amadou Colley, former governor of the Central Bank, was yesterday vigorously questioned by the commission of inquiry looking into the assets and financial transactions of former President Yahya Jammeh.

He testified that the government, through a request from the Accountant General, could open an account at the Central Bank.

He was asked why he did not follow the right procedure to approve the withdrawal of money by officials from the office of the former president.

Mr Colley said that apart from the Accountant General, they sometimes had request from the Ministry of Finance to open an account.

He was referred to some accounts previously opened without the request from the Accountant General.

In response, he stated that there were instructions from the office of the former president.

He was asked whether he could recall sand mining account, which he authorised for its opening and instructed by the office of the former president.

He said it was not from the request of the Accountant General, adding that the opening of the account was irregular.

Mr Colley was asked why he allowed this to happen.

He stated that he approved the opening of the account out of fear as he was not comfortable to tell the former president that there was a procedure to such an account.

He also stated that he did not ask the Accountant General the purpose of opening the account.

He was referred to a sum of D36, 000,000 which was withdrawn without any signatories.

Mr Colley responded that this should have not have been done without proper authority.

He was also asked what right or power he had to approve the withdrawn of monies without proper authority.

He said there were memos from the Secretary General to give out public funds.

Asked about the sum of $250,000 paid to Sanna Jarju and approved by him, and there was no document presented before him to hand over the money.

He replied that officials from the office of the former president would come with instructions to withdraw monies, adding that this was a practice before he became the governor.

He was also asked whether he authorised the withdrawal of D800, 000 and signed by Sanna Jarju. He confirmed that he did the authorisation.

He was referred to the Special Project vision 2016 account to which the former was the sole signatory.

He was then asked whether he would approve the withdrawal of money from this account by any military officer.

Mr Colley answered that instructions came from the office of the former president.

He was asked whether he asked the former president to sign proper documents before he approved the withdrawal of monies to be paid to him.

He responded that he was not comfortable and he considered his life and that of his family, adding that could not do such with somebody who was not normal.

Karamo Jawara, principal banking officer of the Central Bank, was recalled to shed light on the Special Security account opened by the office of the former president.

He said the account was opened on 9 March 2010, with a request coming from Accountant General.

He said that there was a total deposit of D645, 512,383.59 and a withdrawal of D639, 966, 191.42, and that there was a balance of D4, 187,803.77.

He stated that the purpose of the opening of the account was to finance the travel of officials from the office of the former president and the maintenance of their aircraft, and purchase of air tickets.

He adduced that there were 294 withdrawals and 500 transactions.

He testified that on 4 May 2016, there was a withdrawal of $66,276.59 paid to a hotel in Malaysia for some delegates.

Mr Jawara posited that on 19 May 2016, there was a request from the office of the former president to withdraw D2, 900, 800 to be paid to Sinola Safari, and that $185,000 was withdrawn and paid to GIA for state aircraft.

Author: Dawda Faye